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F1 drivers want FIA to show more 'common sense' on new rule

Two drivers have fallen foul of the new rule that was added to the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations this year.

In both of the opening races of the 2023 Formula 1 season, two drivers have fallen foul of a new rule that was added into the FIA Sporting Regulations. The rule concerns incorrect starting position, which was amended this year to state that a driver who has all four wheels not within the front and sides of their grid position marker will be deemed to be in the incorrect location. This is defined under Article 48 of the Sporting Regs, and states: Any of the penalties under Articles 54.3a), 54.3b), or 54.3c) will be imposed on any driver who is judged to have: 48.1 (c) Any part of the contact patch of its front tyres outside of the lines (front and sides) at the time of the start signal. So far Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso have fallen foul of the new rule, the latter being denied his 100th podium before being reinstated due to a rules dispute following the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Drivers want more 'common sense' to be applied

When Ocon was handed a five-second time penalty for being out of position on the grid in Bahrain, the Alpine driver noted that four other drivers also did not stop properly in their grid slot. A quick scan of the grid positions during the start of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix shows that other drivers further back from Alonso, including Valtteri Bottas and Yuki Tsunoda, were also out of alignment. Drivers understandably want clarification on the rule, as it can be difficult to spot where to stop properly given their seating position in the cockpit. "It's incredibly difficult. To put some perspective, we only see probably the top four or five inches of the tyre so you can't actually see the ground itself," said George Russell to media, including RacingNews365.com . Drivers do have a yellow line to help spot the grid slot, but Russell says it is still difficult to determine where the car is positioned. "We've got these big long yellow lines pointing out… I can't even see the yellow line, let alone the white lines determining your lateral position," he explained. "It’s really, really tough so that's why I think in this regard we need to show a little bit more common sense."

Verstappen: Sometimes you argue, what did they gain?

Max Verstappen has likened it to a track limits penalty, questioning if the driver actually gained anything from being slightly out of position. "Sometimes you argue: did you gain anything going wide or not, going outside of it? I think at one point we do need a rule," said the Dutchman. "It looks really silly if people start to take advantage of going really left and right but yeah, I don't know what we can do better." Sergio Perez believes it is often down to luck for drivers, as they struggle with limited visibility from the cockpit. He added: "You have no idea when you are in the car. You don't know if you went too far behind or too far forward. "We need better visibility to be able to come up with a better idea than we currently have it. It's good that there is a rule in place, but at the same time, sometimes it's like luck, to be honest, where you position yourself." The FIA will meet with teams in the wake of the Alonso penalty chaos prior to the Australian Grand Prix to clarify rules, where this will likely be a talking point on the agenda.

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